Guitar Chords and Tabs

A chord chart is an effective way for beginners to start learning music. Each string’s numbers indicate which fret to press; these charts are then stacked vertically.

“Hammer on” between two notes indicates the act of pressing down harder on a fretted note with your picking finger to raise its pitch higher than on its open string counterpart.


Chords are groups of notes sounded together at once. Typically written out as chord charts or diagrams, chords can be used to accompany melodies or instruments, as well as form the harmonic structure of songs.

Tablature (or tabs), for guitar players, are simplified versions of sheet music that show which strings and frets to press with their fingers, how they should be arranged and which finger should press each dot on each dot; they also indicate which finger should press each dot, plus some symbols – for instance “b” signifies that you should bend a string slightly to alter its pitch.

Hammer-ons involve tapping a string with your finger to sharpen its sound, while pull-offs are represented by an inward curve. Muting symbols (x) indicate placing one’s finger over a string to prevent its from ringing – this method may help when playing quiet songs; however, as it doesn’t give much guidance in terms of rhythmic progressions it’s essential that listeners monitor the song closely in order to get an understanding of pace and beats per minute.


Tabs are an abbreviated version of standard musical notation. Their format consists of horizontal lines representing guitar strings and numbers representing frets; when numbers appear on a line it indicates which finger should press down on that string; numbers followed by zeros indicate open strings to play instead; these tabs must be read from left to right just like standard music notation.

When placed between two notes, a forward slash (/) indicates you should move from the higher note to the lower one and vice versa; similarly, backward slashes () signify pulloff from one to another.

Though tabs are an effective tool for learning songs and riffs, standard notation provides much more insight into rhythm than does tabs.


The guitar tab contains several symbols. An x indicates muted string while O indicates an open string. Numbers represent which fret to use: index finger (1), middle finger (2), ring finger (3) and pinky (4). A pull-off occurs when one note transitions smoothly into another note that is lower in pitch; to perform one start by playing your initial note before holding down your index finger two frets below it on that string – this causes resonance that will result in another note with lower pitch than before.

An accidental (flat, sharp or natural) means changing a letter note by one semitone to match the key signature of a piece being played. These modifications may extend into the next measure via ties; grace notes provide quick notes before playing next note.


A chord is defined as any grouping of notes from one scale that are played simultaneously, indicated in TAB by vertically-stacked numbers and fretted all at the same time.

On occasion, you will encounter symbols depicting two notes with a curved line connecting them, signalling that harmonics should be played on a string (bell-like sounds created using special fretting techniques). To play natural harmonics simply place your finger directly above the fret and strike quickly while for tapped harmonics you must fret the lower note as normal then use one finger of your strumming hand to tap on top of it with another.

As TAB doesn’t always provide clear directions on rhythm, it is best to practice each song you learn on its own and listen for which type of beat it uses. Some TAB will include sheet music-style rhythmic structures outlined beneath strings and chords for easier learning.